My oldest granddaughter is a freshman at IU and I know she likes my homemade cookies.
So, I whipped up a batch of chocolate chip delights to mail to her dorm.
My wife and I meticulously wrapped the cookies in 6 little containers of 5 each. We then packed styrofoam worms around them and sealed it tight.
I took it to the little rural post office nearby and when I got the quiz on the contents, I told the gal they were cookies. She said she could get them delivered for a $7.85 investment.
It sounded like like a deal to me.
A week later, no cookies have arrived at IU and I’ve yet to talk to anyone with an answer.
First off, the U.S. Postal Service has no officials motto.
Although “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds” is engraved on the front of New York’s James A. Farley Post Office, it’s actually taken from a 5th century BC book by Persian historian Herodotus.
Now in 1895, there was a mascot named “Owney the mail terrier” who died (mysteriously) of a bullet wound 2 years later. Owney has been preserved and is on display at the National Postal Museum.
The 7.5 million employees of the U.S. Postal Service process and deliver almost 485 million pieces of mail every day, so I could see how they might overlook my granddaughters’ box of cookies.
The USPS processes and delivers almost one-half of the entire world’s mail.
Maybe if my granddaughter was going to school in Supai, Arizona she would have gotten her cookies already.
You see, the only cost-effective way to deliver mail there, in the Grand Canyon, is by mule.
I suppose the cookies could have fallen from a saddle bag and got stepped on by the hoofed creature.
The Supai, Arizona mail route has nothing to do with the Pony Express, which existed from April, 1860 to October, 1861.
It carried mail from St. Joseph, Missouri to San Francisco and points in-between but the Pony Express was not a part of the U.S. Postal Service.
Can’t blame wayward cowboys for losing that package of cookies.
Is drinking to blame?
Well, the first post office in colonial America started in 1639 in a Boston home that sold “stronge water”.
In other words, a bar.
From 1914 to 1921, the post office allowed farmers to arrange prices with people in urban areas and mail them their choices of ham, bacon, fresh meats, poultry, eggs, butter, cheese, nuts, maple syrup, honey, jellies, preserves, fruits and vegetables.
That was permitted under the “Farm to Table” program so this idea of me sending cookies to a college freshman is not that radical of a concept for the mail folks.
Geez, the 45.52 carat Hope Diamond was delivered to the Smithsonian Institution via mail.
It cost $2.44 plus $142.85 for insurance.
While it cost me $5.41 more to mail my 30 cookies, I did not insure the package and that might be my downfall.
Now, I got a receipt with all the tracking information on it but that foot-long piece of paper got wet and some of the numbers can’t be read.
So, I was forced to dial the USPS toll-free number for help.
First of all, 3 phone calls, each of 6-7 minutes in duration, never got me to actually talk to a real person.
One time, I was told an agent would call me back in an hour. When my phone rang, all I had was a voice-mail telling me to call that number again.
This time the wait was over an hour long and I just hung up.
When I tried again, I had a recording saying an agent would contact me in in roughly 45 minutes.
Still no call…yet.
Maybe I should have called the Postmaster General.
Until 1971, he or she was in the line of presidential succession and the USPS “big cheese” is actually one of the highest-paid folks in D.C.
Ben Franklin was the first Postmaster General we ever had (1775) and a guy who thought the turkey should be our national bird seems like a guy I could trust on matters like “missing cookies”.
Perhaps my problem really isn’t with the USPS but with their phone system because all I want to know is what happened to my granddaughter’s cookies.
D id you know that until the mid 19th century, mail recipients paid for the postage on the letters they received.
Neav and I sort of did that back in the day when we’d send cards to her folks and they often had “postage due” because of the size and weight.
Well, I did get a call back from the USPS and was told they couldn’t help me without that obscured tracking number
So I took my water-spotted receipt to the tiny post office where the cookies were last seen by me to see if there’s anyway to salvage this matter.
Again, I was told, “No can do with the tracking number”.
I didn’t realize what a rare piece of paper that I had in that original receipt.
It’s the ONLY document in the modern world with that mystical tracking number information on it.
I wonder if the Hope Diamond had a tracking number and, if it didn’t, would the USPS only be able to shrug its’ collective shoulders and say, “Sorry.”
But then again, the Hope Diamond was insured for $142.85.
Don’t think my cookies were worth that much.
Those cookies are either stale or in a mail truck or stuck in a piece of equipment.
Or something else.
Can anyone do “breath-a-lyzer tests” for chocolate chip cookies?